Breast-Feeding Rate Rises

The USA Today, December 2, 2002 issue reports that US women are breastfeeding their babies in record amounts. The article states more and more women are breastfeeding these days compared to the past 50 years. Based on the 2001 poll by Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, 7 out of 10 women nurse in the hospital and a third are continuing it 6 months later. This information came from a survey of approximately 400,000 mothers.

Ruth Lawrence, a neonatologist and nutrition expert at University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical School states, "It is the best news I've heard for children in a very long time." Based on the article, the reasons why more women are breastfeeding are numerous. Family law attorney Elizabeth Baldwin of Fort Lauderdale states that over the past several years, almost half of the states passed laws to protect a woman's right to breast-feed in public places. Also, education regarding the advantages of breast feeding combined with the incentives in private and government programs is reported by the article as increasing the breastfeeding rates.

A few of the detailed advantages of breastfeeding include lowered occurrence of ear, gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections. The story procedes to claim that infants who are nursed for several months are also much less vulnerable to childhood cancers, particularly leukemia, plus greatly reduces a child's risk for diabetes. Additionally, breast milk has been shown to strengthen the baby's immune system.

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